Colombia coast, El Salvador out
© AFP

Colombia cruised into the knockout stages of the FIFA U-20 World Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over El Salvador, who depart after a heartening debut appearance.

Early goals by Andres Reneria and Jhon Cordoba set the South American U-20 champions on their way to a relaxed evening's work that was rounded off by Juan Quintero rounding it off, and which sees them top Group C at Turkey 2013.

It was a lively start from both sides and while clear-cut chances were few and far between, both showed attacking intent in the opening exchanges. The pre-match favourites took the lead though after 21 minutes, with Renteria thumping a fine opener beyond Rolando Morales after some neat control inside the area.

Things went from bad to worse for the Salvadorians, when Olivier Ayala tugged down Cordoba inside the area. The Jaguares striker made no mistake from the penalty spot, rolling coolly into the bottom-left corner.

A speculative effort from Diego Coca, trying to lob Cristian Bonilla from 30 yards, showed the underdogs were not giving up yet, but the South Americans were well in control as the half-time rolled in.

The second period began largely like the first, with El Salvador looking buoyed by the break, but Colombia slowly began to hoard possession again. Cristian Palomeque had a the chance to stretch their lead, controlling superbly from a long pass, but after trying to round Rolando Morales, he shot wide.

After scoring a stunning winner against Turkey in their last game, Colombia captain Quintero tried a few ambitious efforts from distance in the hope of adding to his tally. Fully in control, it looked as a goal could come at any time for Colombia, and it should have when Brayan Perea headed over unchallenged. Quintero then created another chance for him with a fine pass, but Perea's shot was poor.

Quintero did get his goal in stoppage time, and it was well worth the wait, with a left-footed strike thundered home from 25-yards to leave Morales with no chance.

The result means Colombia finish the group with seven points, followed by Turkey on six, with El Salvador on three points, but a goal difference of minus-four denies them passage as a best third-place side. Australia finish fourth with a point.